For the fifth consecutive year, LifeCenter Northwest (LCNW) – the federally designated, non-profit organ procurement organization (OPO) serving Alaska, Montana, North Idaho, and Washington, has surpassed records set for both organ and tissue donors, resulting in more lives saved and improved than ever before.
Working in close collaboration with hospital partners and local transplant centers, LCNW recovered life-saving organs from 215 donors, giving 679 people a second chance at life through transplantation. This helped elevate the organization’s total number of organ donors to over 3,000 since its opening in 1998. Factoring in the average number of organs transplanted per donor, it is estimated that these generous donors and their families have helped save roughly 9,500 lives over the past 19 years.
“We have deep appreciation for the outstanding transplant programs in Seattle and Spokane who partner with us in this life-saving work.” says Kevin O’Connor, President & CEO of LifeCenter Northwest. “Having the opportunity to make such a profound difference in the lives of so many people motivates us every day, but there is still much work to be done. Our resolve to continue to help more and more people is stronger than ever. We encourage people to take time to register as an organ, eye, and tissue donor and talk to their loves ones about their wishes.”
LifeCenter Northwest also helped 643 tissue donors give the gift of life last year, a 22 percent increase over 2015. These gifts will benefit tens of thousands of people, providing tissue grafts such as skin to help burn patients, heart valves for patients with cardiac disease, and bone grafts to repair and replace damaged tissue due to illness or injuries.
“We are especially grateful to the donors and their families, for their generosity and courage, and for giving the gift of life to others,” says O’Connor. “The continuous improvement we have seen over these past few years is the direct result of the tireless work of our talented and dedicated staff, working hand in hand with the larger medical community, all focused intently on helping others in need.”
This steady growth can be attributed to extensive process improvements, a mission focused approach, strategic staffing, dedicated collaboration and to the generous nature of the communities it serves. Currently, the three states that comprise the majority of LCNW’s service area, Alaska, Montana, and Washington, are ranked top three in the nation for percentage of adult residents registered to give the gift of life.
With continued progress in transplantation, the need for donation continues to grow each year. Approximately 22 people die every day waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant. Currently, there are more than 2,500 people on the waiting list for organ transplants in the LCNW service area, and more than 119,000 nationwide. One donor can save the lives of up to eight people through organ donation and heal up to 75 others through tissue donation.